Thursday, February 28, 2019

Angels Rest - Devils Rest Loop

Today's outdoor adventure is a photoset from when I did the Angels Rest - Devils Rest Loop back in late December. The photos are in roughly reverse chronological order because the weather was truly miserable in the morning, the first time I went by the Angels Rest viewpoint. Nothing but fog, wind, and rain then, and that continued for the trip further uphill to Devils Rest, which is a weird pile of mossy rocks in an area of dense, misty forest. More fog and rain on the trip east, and then down the seemingly endless switchbacks down to the top of the Wahkeena Falls area. It may have started clearing up along the lower trail back to Angels Rest from there; I was getting a bit tired at that point, and had forgotten there was another stretch of seemingly endless switchbacks -- this time going up -- gaining 500 feet or so in a fairly short distance, on a trail I had misremembered as basically flat. So that part was kind of... unwelcome.

By the time I arrived back at Angels Rest the weather had finally cleared up and suddenly the view was incredible. And then my phone decided to drain itself from 60% to 0% in a few short minutes, as punishment for trying to share the amazing view on Instagram or Twitter, I forget which. Maybe both. And -- I am not exaggerating -- not ten seconds after my phone keeled over, a huge bald eagle soared right over me, with a pair of (I think) ravens close behind trying to scare it off. I would've led this post with that if I'd gotten a photo of it. Oh well.

Which brings us to the last bit, the way back down from the viewpoint to the parking lot. I'd figured that would be easy and probably boring since I'd done the same stretch of trail in the morning on the way up. But no, even in the dead of winter the trail attracts enough visitors that it gets churned up into a slippery pudding by late afternoon. So I slowly and gingerly made my way downhill and managed to avoid slipping and taking the quicker way down. This was after 3pm and as it was late December, it was getting rather late in the day, so I was surprised to encounter a lot of people heading the other direction. I mean, I'm sure the sunset from Angels Rest that evening was phenomenal. But I have no idea how any of those people got back downhill afterward in the dark. There wasn't anything on the news the next day about rescue/recovery operations in the Gorge, so it must have all worked out somehow. I'd love to know the secret to pulling that off, if there is one. Crawling down on all fours with night vision goggles, maybe? Beats me.

Anyway, the hike was amazing; the view at the end was amazing; the windy and rainy and foggy parts in the middle and even the unexpected switchbacks were amazing; the mud at the end was, ok, we won't discuss that part any further, but overall the whole thing was amazing and I'll happily do it again, maybe next time on a sunnier day with a later sunset.